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150                                   VERDICT  OX INDIA
II
Punctually at five o'clock the ex-gaol-bird sat cross-legged on, a
divan, talking with a bubble and brilliance that was reminiscent
of Lady Oxford at her best, in the old Bedford Square days, when
yellow tulips were two shillings a dozen, and sherry was just a
drink, and not an Event.
"This house is like Sanger's circus,5 she announced. The
warning was necessary. Behind my chair there suddenly bobbed
up a very thin daughter with a deep Girtoix voice. 'What has
happened to you ?' she demanded. 'When I heard you speak at
Oxford you were plump and brillian,t; now you are thinner than
I am and you haven't said a thing.' Another not-so-thiix daughter
rushed into the room proclaiming fiercely, clf you've come here
for a lesson, in, aixti-Imperialism you've certainly come to the
right place P
cBe quiet, my dear/ intervened Mrs. Naidu. 'Mr. Nichols
hasn't had his tea yet.'
There was a son who seemed wrapped in yogic meditation ; and
another son with a black beard, who proved to be an Ayurvedic
doctor ; he lay back in his chair, exploding with general Ayurvedic
principles, such as... * The solar system has five centres in us : one,
reasoning; two, the eyes; three, the liver; four, the creative
power ; five, the solar plexus.'   As I was trying to cope with some
very slippery cucumber sandwiches at the time I may not have
quoted him quite correctly, but that was the general idea.    There
were various other people, including Mrs. Naidu's husban,d, who
looked amiably puzzled by the general uproar, which was increased
by the fact that every other minute a servant entered with an
envelope containing money for the Famine Relief Fund.    Mrs.
Naidu slit open each envelop with a whoop of joy, and waved
rupee notes over her head.. /This is from X, he's a darling, much
more than he can afford.'    'Look at this from Y.. .if she thinks
she's going to get away with ten rupees, she's very much mistaken*
Ring her up, darling, and ask her to tea.'
Last but not least there was a Siamese cat, of such overpowering
elegance and charm that it was only by the strictest mental con-
centration that I was able to avoid giving all my attention to it*